Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Werner in the middle

I caught the last half of the Herzog interview on CBC's Q the other day, and quite liked his reply to Ghomeshi's suggestion that he was an outsider. He very politely (but very firmly) disagreed, saying he is "in the centre," and that the culture around him was what was "bizarre." He made clear he wasn't being puckish, but was sincere ("I don't zink ziss, I know ziss."), and noted that whereas Kaiser Wilhelm supposedly defined his own era, it was the completely unknown and marginal Franz Kafka who truly did so. (Though he quickly followed that up by saying he was not comparing himself to Kafka. Or Wilhelm, for that matter.) He also noted that Aguirre, the Wrath of God, was once voted the "Worst Film of the Decade" in Germany. (He makes some of the same comments here.)

It made me think of something someone wrote about The Filth and the Fury (which is a surprisingly sad film), something to the effect of the young Sex Pistols looking utterly normal and sincere next to all the unctuous TV chat hosts and moral majority figures who spent so much time baiting them.

This can be a temptingly self-serving view for any artist - and anyone - to get ahold of (yeah man, I'm the normal one - they're all insane), but you find optimism where you can.

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